Streamlining Your Writing

by Kevin C. Peters, Research Specialist,

Once you've managed to control the tone of your inquiry or proposal, you can then revise it further. In letters of inquiry, where space is often limited, you want to be sure that you say things as clearly and efficiently as possible, with few wasted words. Even in longer proposals, you want to be straightforward so that your message doesn't get lost in a crowd of unnecessary words.

Remove Redundant Redundancies

Merriam-Webster defines “redundancy” as “an act or instance of needless repetition.” The key word in that definition is “needless”; we want to remove repetition that is unnecessary, as opposed to repetition for effect or to hammer an idea into someone's head.

The most common redundancies—which are unnecessary or excessive modifiers—are created by the addition of words that hold the same meaning. For example, we don't want to say “final conclusion,” since a conclusion is by definition final.

Other examples include “true fact,” “the month of June,” “7 a.m. in the morning,” “new innovation,” and “my...

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